Safety Focused January 2017

Sedentary Working Is a Top Health Risk

Sedentary working is a new top health risk that is getting increased attention from health and safety professionals. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to break down body fat and regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. However, more research is needed in order to clear up some confusion over how employers can protect their staff from the perils of sedentary working.

Although studies have linked excessive sitting with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and early death, most of the evidence is based on observational studies, which have failed to show a direct connection between sitting and ill health. Furthermore, more reliable research is needed regarding workplace interventions, such as sit-to-stand desks.

While there is not yet a clear answer as to what employers should do to address sedentary employees, there are things that employees can do on their own in order to stay healthy, including the following best practices:

  •  Stand up for at least two hours per day.
  •  Set a reminder to stand up every 30 minutes.
  •  Stand instead of sit whenever it is practical, such as during meetings or while on the phone.
  •  Walk over to colleagues’ desks for conversations instead of emailing or phoning them.
  •  Use the stairs instead of the elevator as often as possible.

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

A poor night’s sleep may not only affect your productivity at work—it can also have adverse health effects.

Although the average recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night, the average employee gets six hours and 28 minutes of sleep, according to a recent study of 1,060 participants. Two of the top reported side effects of sleep loss were a lack of attention and taking longer to complete tasks. Both suggest that sleep loss may negatively affect productivity.

The effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling irritable and not working at your best, are well known, but they also include profound physical health consequences. Regular poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a shortened life expectancy.

Getting enough sleep is especially important during the cold winter months, when a lack of sunlight can make people feel more fatigued and sluggish.

With that in mind, the following tips can help ensure a good night’s sleep:

  •  Establish a regular bedtime routine. Doing so will help program your body to sleep better. Go to bed at the same time every night, and create a habit of winding down beforehand by doing activities such as reading a book or taking a bath.
  •  Create a restful sleeping environment. TVs and other electronic gadgets can interfere with your ability to wind down.
  •  Don’t overindulge before bedtime. Too much food or alcohol before bedtime can interfere with sleep patterns. While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it can interrupt your sleep later in the night

See the original article Here.


9 reasons why retirement may go extinct

Worried about your future retirement? Check out this great read by Marlene Satter

Retirement as we know it may be set to disappear, as younger people look for ways to finance surviving into old age.

But extinction? Surely not.

However, according to the Merrill Edge Report 2016, that might just be in the offing, as workers change how they plan and save for retirement and how they intend to pay for it.

Millennials in particular represent a shift in attitude that includes very unretirement-like plans, although GenXers too are struggling with ways to pay their way through their golden years.

That’s tough, considering that most Americans neither know nor correctly estimate how much money they might need to keep the wolf from the door during retirement—or even to retire at all.

Here’s a look at 9 reasons why retirement as we know it today might be a terminal case—unless things change drastically, and soon.

9. Ignorance.

Most Americans have no idea how much they might need to retire, which leaves them behind the eight ball when trying to figure out when or whether they can afford to do so.

Of course, it’s hardly surprising, considering how many are members of the “sandwich generation,” who find themselves caring for elderly parents while at the same time raising kids, or even trying to put those kids through college.

With soaring medical costs on one end and soaring student debt on the other, not to mention parents supporting adult children who have come home to roost, it’s hard to figure out how much they’ll need to meet all their obligations, much less try to save some of an already-stretched income to cover retirement savings as well.

8. Poor calculations.

We already know most workers don’t know how much they’ll need in retirement—but it’s not just a matter of ignorance. They don’t know how to figure it out, either.

More than half—56 percent—figure they’ll be able to get by during retirement on a million dollars or less, while 9 percent overall think up to $100,000 will see them through.

And 19 percent just flat-out say they don’t know how much they’ll need.

Considering that health care costs alone can cost them a quarter of a mil during retirement, the optimists who think they can get by on $100,000 or less and even those who figure $100,000–$500,000 will do the job are way too optimistic—particularly since saving for medical costs isn’t one of their top priorities.

7. Despair.

It’s pretty hard to get motivated about something if you think it’s not achievable—and that discourages a lot of people from saving for retirement.

Those who have a “magic number” that they think will see them through retirement aren’t all that optimistic about being able to achieve that level of savings, with 40 percent of nonretired workers saying that reaching their magic number by retirement will either be “difficult” or “virtually unattainable.”

 

6. Luck.

When you don’t believe you can do it on your own, what else is left? Sheer dumb luck, to quote Professor Minerva McGonagall at Hogwarts after Harry and Ron defeated the troll.

Only instead of magic wands, 17 percent of would-be retirees are sadly (and amazingly) counting on winning the lottery to get them to their goal.

 

5. The gig economy.

Retirement? What retirement? Millennials in particular think they’ll need side jobs in the gig economy to keep them from the cat food brigade.

In addition, exactly half of younger millennials aged 18–24 believe they need to take on a side job to reach their retirement goals, compared with only 25 percent of all respondents. They don’t believe that just one job will cut it any more.

 

4. Attitude adjustment.

While 83 percent of current retirees are not currently working or never have during their golden years, the majority (83 percent) of millennials plan to work in retirement—whether for income, to keep busy or to pursue a passion.

The rise of the “gig economy" has created an environment where temporary positions and short-term projects are more prevalent and employee benefits such as retirement plans are less certain. This may be why more millennials (15 percent) are likely to rank an employer’s retirement plan as the most important factor when taking a new job compared with GenXers (5 percent) and baby boomers (5 percent).

Older generations had unions to negotiate benefits for them. Millennials might realize they have to do it all themselves, but they aren’t negotiating for salaries high enough to allow them to save.

And union benefits or not, 64 percent of boomers, 79 percent of Gen Xers and even 17 percent of currently retired workers plan to work in retirement.

 

3. A failure to communicate.

Lack of communications is probably not surprising, since most people won’t talk about savings anyway.

Fifty-four percent of respondents say that the only person they feel comfortable discussing their current retirement savings with is their spouse or partner. Only 36 percent would discuss the subject with family, and only 22 percent would talk with friends about it.

And as for coworkers? Just 6 percent would talk about retirement savings with colleagues—although more communication on the topic no doubt could provide quite an education on both sides of the discussion.

 

2. Misplaced confidence.

They won’t talk about it, but they think they do better than others at saving for retirement. How might that be, when they don’t know what others are doing about retirement?

Forty-three percent of workers say they are better at saving than their friends, while 28 percent believe they’re doing better at it than coworkers; 27 percent think they’re doing better than their spouse or partner, 27 percent say they’re doing better than their parents and 24 percent say they’re beating out their siblings.

All without talking about it.

 

1. DIY.

They’re struggling to figure out how much they need, many won’t talk about retirement savings even with those closest to them and they’re anticipating working into retirement—but millennials in particular are taking a more hands-on approach to their investments.

Doing it oneself could actually be a good thing, since it could mean the 70 percent of millennials, 72 percent of GenXers and 57 percent of boomers who are taking the reins into their own hands better understand what they’re investing in and how they need to structure their portfolios.

However, doing it oneself without sufficient understanding—and millennials in particular are also most likely to describe their investment personality as “DIY,” with 32 percent making their own rules when it comes to investments, compared to 19 percent of all respondents—can be a problem.

After all, as the saying goes, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

See the original article Here.

Source:

Satter M. (2016 December 7). 9 reasons why retirement may go extinct[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2016/12/07/9-reasons-why-retirement-may-go-extinct?ref=mostpopular&page_all=1


ACA ‘repeal and replace’ plans in motion for 2017: What should HR do?

ACA's replacement may soon by on the way according to this article by Lauren Stead

Republican House and Senate leaders have been energized by the election of a president likely to accept a proposal to repeal Obamacare. As a result, they’re preparing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) within the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s first term. 

Reports coming out of Capitol Hill indicate that the repeal measures GOP congressional leaders are planning to introduce would most likely be modeled after a 2015 repeal bill that was vetoed by President Obama. In addition, Senate leaders are thinking of using a process called reconciliation, which would allow budget bills to pass with a simple majority vote and bypass any filibuster attempts from Democrats.

Republicans are looking to pass repeal measures as Trump transitions into office, but delay the effective date of the repeal for two to three years.

GOP leaders are hoping the delay of the full rollback of Obamacare would sway enough Democrats to vote for the repeal and avoid a protracted legislative process.

The delay would also buy Republican lawmakers time to come up with a plan to replace the ACA so some 20 million Americans who purchased insurance on Obamacare’s exchanges don’t lose their health insurance seemingly overnight — while still fulfilling the promises of the Trump campaign to take down the existing law.

Republicans have released few details on what exactly their replacement plan may look like, but Trump said he wants it to save some of the more popular parts of the ACA — like guaranteed coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and the ability for children to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they are 26 years of age.

What does this mean for employers?

Employers, meanwhile, are left wondering: What do — and what can — we do with our company sponsored plans now?

The answer: Stay the course. Even if a repeal bill is passed the second Trump takes office, it’s unlikely to change anything in the near future.

For at least a little while, it looks like larger companies (those with 50+ employees) will still be subject to the employer mandate/shared-responsibility non-compliance penalties if they drop coverage — or even drop benefits limits significantly — for full-time equivalent employees (those working 30+ hours per week on average). The GOP hasn’t released any specific timelines.

That means large employers still have to work on complying with the ACA’s reporting requirements, for at least the 2016 plan year (for which reporting will be due in 2017).

Obamacare compliance should still be at the forefront of every employers’ actions, as it’s unlikely the feds will waive non-compliance penalties just because companies are banking on a future repeal.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Stead L.(2016 December 7). ACA 'repeal and replace' plans in motion for 2017: what should HR do?[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.hrmorning.com/aca-repeal-and-replace-plans-in-motion-for-2017-what-should-hr-do/


Safety Focused Newsletter-December 2016

Staying Active at Work

Staying active can increase productivity and reduce stress. However, as the weather begins to cool, it can become more and more difficult to get up and move around—especially if you’re stuck in an office all day. Luckily, there are a number of exercises and activities you can do at work to ensure that you stay fit and healthy during the winter months, including the following: During Breaks  Stand up and stretch during your breaks to help reduce muscle fatigue and to help get your blood flowing.  Incorporate a short power walk into snack and coffee breaks.  Walk to your co-workers and have

Luckily, there are a number of exercises and activities you can do at work to ensure that you stay fit and healthy during the winter months, including the following: During Breaks  Stand up and stretch during your breaks to help reduce muscle fatigue and to help get your blood flowing.  Incorporate a short power walk into snack and coffee breaks.  Walk to your co-workers and have

During Breaks

  • Stand up and stretch during your breaks to help reduce muscle fatigue and to help get your blood flowing.
  • Incorporate a short power walk into snack and coffee breaks.
  • Walk to your co-workers and have face-to-face conversations with them in lieu of utilizing emails or phone calls. Not only does this get you up and away from your desk, but it can help you build relationships with your peers.

During Your Lunch Hour

  • Take the stairs to and from the cafeteria, if applicable. In general, lunch is a great time to get in some extra activities.
  • Sign up for a fitness class that you can participate in during your short lunch breaks. Just be sure to speak with a manager first to ensure that it’s OK.

Before and After Work

  • Consider walking to work on days where it’s not too cold and the walkways are free of ice.
  • Park your car far away from the main entrance of your work. This will force you to get in some extra steps before and after the workday.

Whatever methods you choose to utilize, staying active is important for your personal health. Even 10 minutes of activity a day has its benefits.

However, prior to exercising, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough for vigorous exercise. Your doctor will also be able to provide you with additional tips on staying active.

For more workplace wellness tips, contact Hierl Insurance Inc. today.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a recurring depression that affects individuals during the cold winter months and then recedes during the spring and summer.

It is estimated that 5 percent of Americans suffer from SAD, with nearly 75 percent of those affected being women. SAD is most common for those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, although it can also occur in children, adolescents and the elderly.

SAD can have a serious impact on your desire to work and your overall well-being. Symptoms of SAD can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but generally include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Decreased interest in daily activities, especially social activities
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Increased appetite with weight gain
  • Cravings for carbohydrates
  •  Increased desire to sleep, with more daytime sleepiness

If you believe that you or a co-worker are suffering from SAD, it’s important to keep in mind the following coping strategies:

  1. Expose yourself to more light. Increasing the amount of natural light in your home and at work can have a positive impact on your mood.
  2. Get active. Whenever possible, go outside and get some exercise. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  3.  Reduce stress. Managing stress and finding time to relax can help limit the effects of SAD.

If you believe you may be suffering from SAD, it’s important to speak to a health care professional. He or she may recommend medication and other SAD-management approaches. Additionally, you should speak with your employer to ensure that they are aware of your condition and can work with you to find ways to assist.

 


Concerned About Losing Your Marketplace Plan? ACA Repeal May Take Awhile

Worried about your healthcare plan? Check out this interesting article from Kaiser Health News, by Michelle Andrews

President-elect Donald Trump has promised that he’ll ask Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Day One of his administration. If you’re shopping for coverage on the health insurance marketplace, should you even bother signing up? If everything’s going to change shortly after your new coverage starts in January anyway, what’s the point?

While it’s impossible to know exactly what changes are coming to the individual market and how soon they’ll arrive, one thing is virtually certain: Nothing will happen immediately. Here are answers to questions you may have.

Q. How soon after Trump takes office could my marketplace coverage change?

It’s unlikely that much, if anything, will change in 2017.

“It’s a complex process to alter a law as complicated as the ACA,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University. It seems unlikely that congressional Republicans could force through a repeal of the law since Democrats have enough votes to sustain a filibuster blocking that move. So Congress might opt to use a budget procedure, called “reconciliation,” that allows revenue-related changes, such as eliminating the premium tax credits,  with simple majority votes. Yet even that process could take months.

And it wouldn’t address the other parts of the health law that reformed the insurance market, such as the prohibition on denying people coverage if they’re sick. How some of those provisions of the law will be affected is still quite unclear.

“It will likely be January 2019 before any new program would be completely in place,” said Robert Laszewski, a health care industry consultant and long-time critic of the law.

The current open enrollment period runs through January 2017. Shop for a plan, use it and don’t focus on what Congress may do several months from now, Rosenbaum advised.

Q. Will my subsidy end next year if the new administration repeals or changes the health law?

Probably not. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, said on the campaign trail that any changes will allow time for consumers receiving premium subsidies to adjust.

Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia who is an expert on the health law, also predicts a reasonable transition period.

Congress and the new administration are “not eager to have a bunch of angry, uninsured voters,” Jost said.

Theoretical conversations about changing the health law are one thing, but “I think that Congress may be less willing to just wipe the subsidies out if a lot of people are using them,” Rosenbaum said. More than 9 million people receive subsidies on the marketplace, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Q. Can my insurer drop out once the new administration takes over, even if the law hasn’t been repealed?

No, insurers are generally locked in contractually for 2017, according to experts. But 2018 could be a whole different story, said Laszewski.

Many insurers are already losing money on their marketplace offerings. If they know that the health insurance marketplaces are being eliminated and replaced by something else in 2019, why would they stick with a sinking ship?

“The Trump administration could be left with a situation where Obamacare is still alive, the subsidies are still alive, but not the insurers,” said Laszewski. To prevent that, the Trump administration might have to subsidize insurers’ losses during a 2018 transition year, he said.

Q. My state expanded Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000). Is that going to end if Obamacare is repealed?

It may. Trump has advocated giving block grants to finance the entire Medicaid program on the theory that it provides an incentive for states to make their programs more cost-effective. But that strategy could threaten the coverage of millions of Americans if the block grants don’t keep pace with costs, Jost said.

So far, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid under the health law. Republican governors in these states may play a key role in arguing against taking the expansion money away, Rosenbaum said.

Q. I have a heart condition. Does this mean I’m going to have a hard time finding coverage?

It’s possible. The health law prohibits insurers from turning people away because they’re sick and may be expensive to insure.

Republicans have generally promised to maintain that guaranteed insurability, but what that would look like is unclear. Some of their plans would require people to remain continuously insured in order to maintain that guarantee, said Laszewski.

“I would advise people who are sick to get good coverage now and hang onto it,” said Jost.

Q. Since Republicans have pledged to repeal the law, can I ignore the law’s requirement that I have health insurance?

The individual mandate, as it’s called, is one of the least popular elements of Obamacare. As long as it’s the law, you should follow it, experts said.

Insurers have argued that the requirement that they take all comers who apply for health insurance only works if there’s a coverage mandate or other mechanism that strongly encourages people to have insurance. Otherwise why would they bother unless they were sick?

For the past few years, Republicans have been pushing hard to eliminate the mandate, Laszewski noted.

“One of the easy things they could do is just not enforce it,” he said.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Andrews, M. (2016 November 10). Concerned about losing your marketplace plan? ACA repeal may take awhile [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://khn.org/news/concerned-about-losing-your-marketplace-plan-aca-repeal-may-take-awhile/


Ballot Measures Expand Marijuana Use in 8 States

Ballot measures to expand the use of marijuana passed in eight states last month, bringing the total number of states allowing some form of legalized marijuana use to 28, including the District of Columbia.

The following offers a brief summary of those ballot measures:

  •  Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota passed ballot measures that allowed or expanded the use of medicinal marijuana.
  • California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada passed ballot measures that legalized recreational marijuana use.
  • Voters in a ninth state, Arizona, rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana use.

What remains unclear is what stance the Trump administration will take regarding enforcement of federal laws. Currently, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and distributing marijuana is a federal offense. However, the Obama administration has been relaxed in its enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

Employers may want to review their employment policies regarding marijuana use, as well as consider local and state laws. For more information on what employers’ rights and responsibilities are regarding employee marijuana use, contact Hierl Insurance Inc. and ask for our Compliance Bulletin: Marijuana Use Legalized in 8 States

88 Percent of Employees Lack Knowledge to Prevent Cyber Incidents

According to a recent report, 88 percent of employees lack the understanding necessary to prevent common cyber incidents. That report is based on the results of a survey given to more than 1,000 employees across the Unites States, and was designed to test the level of knowledge and awareness of cyber security among employees by asking them to name proper behaviors in given circumstances. The survey covered eight risk domains and assigned three risk profiles—Risk, Novice and Hero—to indicate an employee’s privacy and security awareness IQ.

Key findings from the report include the following:

  • Only 12 percent of respondents earned a “Hero” profile, while 72 percent were given a “Novice” profile and 16 percent were given a “Risk” profile.
  •  Almost 40 percent of respondents disposed of a password hint using unsecure means.
  • About 25 percent of respondents failed to recognize a sample phishing email, even though it came from a questionable sender and included an attachment.

This report highlights one of the key vulnerabilities of any organization—employees’ lack of basic cyber security knowledge. Regardless of other hardware or network protections, employees can and will allow cyber criminals into an organization, often without even realizing it.

Fortunately, employee cyber training can help reduce this risk to your organization. For employee cyber training resources, contact Hierl Insurance Inc. today and ask about our Employee Cyber Training Manual.

BLS Reports Injuries and Illnesses Continue to Decrease

The latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses are the lowest they’ve been in 13 years.

The BLS’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) showed that, in 2015, the rate for private industry workers was 3.0 recordable cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers—down from 3.2 in 2014. The rate for state and local government workers, conversely, increased slightly, from 5.0 in 2014 to 5.1 in 2015. Combined, the overall rate dropped from 3.4 in 2014 to 3.3 in 2015.

Despite an increasing population, the total number of cases dropped as well. The BLS estimates that there were 3.66 million injury and illness cases in 2015, down from 3.68 million in 2014.

The most notable outlier was in the public health care sector. For instance, public nursing home workers experienced an injury and illness rate of 12.6, while their private sector counterparts experienced a rate of 6.8.

Download original file Here


Why Care About Diabetes and What You Can Do as an Employer

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Mary Delaney

Diabetes is an expensive disease: $322 billion in America! Costs are compounded because diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, lower limb amputation, and blindness, and also has connections with some cancers, arthritis, gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. To add some perspective, consider these facts: Today, 3,835 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes. Today, diabetes will cause 200 Americans to undergo an amputation, 136 to enter end-stage kidney disease treatment, and 1,795 to develop severe retinopathy that can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million have pre-diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes presents suddenly, Type 2 diabetes is known as a silent killer. One can have it for years before displaying symptoms but, during that time, damage is occurring throughout the body.  For that reason, prevention or early diagnosis of diabetes is imperative. In Vital Incite’s benchmark data of just under 12,000 individuals with A1c values who have not been diagnosed with diabetes, 8 percent of those individuals had A1c values greater than 7 percent. Those values indicate uncontrolled diabetes, but these individuals were not yet diagnosed. In order to reduce risk, and reduce disease burden, the goal is to control diabetes in its early stages so it does not progress. Yet, in examining the control of A1c values, we find that more than 39 percent of diabetics have A1c values that are not controlled.

ID with Diabetes and A1c Value

Using the appropriate resources to control diabetes is critical because, as risk increases, cost also jumps. More importantly, these individuals experience a significant reduction in their quality of life.

Diabetes costs increase with risk

According to Carol Dixon, Regional Director for Community Health Strategies at the American Diabetes Association Indiana, the American Diabetes Association offers many free resources to support you.

Wellness Lives Here℠ (wellnessliveshere.org): With year-round opportunities, Wellness Lives Here will help your organization educate and motivate employees to adopt healthful habits. For some, it means fewer sick days and higher productivity. For others, it means looking and feeling better. For everyone, the result is empowerment—Americans who are better able to control or prevent diabetes and related health problems.

Wellness Lives Here resources include:

  • Engagement with the local American Diabetes Association office for lunch and learns and health fairs
  • Stop Diabetes @Work – Handouts on many health topics that can be co-branded, monthly newsletter articles to communicate healthy lifestyle messages, and a multitude of resources to integrate health into the corporate culture
  • Mission Engagement Days – Specially designed, easy to use toolkits are provided, including Get Fit, Don’t Sit Day (May), and Healthy Lunch Day (November)
  • Health Champion Designation – This special recognition goes to organizations that inspire and encourage a culture of wellness.
  • The CEO Leadership Circle brings together invited executives for the opportunity to work jointly with the local Association office toward specific health goals and objectives for their company.

For more information on how the American Diabetes Association can support your wellness program, contact your local chapter or visit their website at diabetes.org. Read our recent blog on other cost-effective wellness strategies, particularly for small employers.

For additional trends among wellness programs, download In UBA’s new whitepaper: “Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization”.

To understand legal requirements for wellness programs, request UBA’s ACA Advisor, “Understanding Wellness Programs and Their Legal Requirements,” which reviews the five most critical questions that wellness program sponsors should ask and work through to determine the obligations of their wellness program under the ACA, HIPAA, ADA, GINA, and ERISA, as well as considerations for wellness programs that involve tobacco use in any way.

For the latest statistics from the UBA survey examining wellness program design among 19,557 health plans and 11,524 employers, pre-order UBA’s 2016 Health Plan Survey Executive Summary which will be available to the public in late September.

To see how one mid-sized manufacturer used risk scoring tools to identify medical spend waste and improve employee health, download this case study.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Delaney, M. (2016 September 27). Why care about diabetes and what you can do as an employer. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/why-care-about-diabetes-and-what-you-can-do-as-an-employer


Safety Spotlight: Promoting Safety at Work

SAFETY ON THE JOB

Success depends on you

Safety in the workplace is something all employees should take seriously—your well-being is at stake. An on-the-job accident could very easily disable you, leaving security and future plans up in the air. A safety program isn’t only designed to keep you safe—taking responsibility on the job in keep your co-workers away from harm is important, too.

Together, you and your co-workers can support our company’s safety program by giving supervisors or safety leaders ideas on how things can be made safer. Any safety idea, no matter how small it may seem to you, could prevent a serious accident.

If you are a seasoned employee, you can use your years of valuable experience to spot potential safety hazards. Or, if you are a new employee, you may be able to spot something right away that an old pro may have overlooked. Never be afraid to speak up if you notice a safety hazard on the job.

In short, safety takes teamwork. Whatever your job is or whatever your duties include, keep your eyes open for hazards and report them. Help keep our safety program on solid ground!

BEGIN YOUR DAY SAFELY

Preparing your work area for the day

When you arrive at your work area, take a moment to prepare yourself to work safely.

Does your task require some type of personal protective equipment (PPE)? If you are on the shop floor, standard personal protective equipment is safety glasses with side shields and safety shoes with steel toes. Do you need to wear gloves? Face shields? Respirators? If any of these types of PPE are necessary, inspect them before putting them on to make sure they will provide the right protection throughout the job.

Look at the machine(s) you will be operating and look for some specific safety features. Are all machines safeguarded and are they working properly? Physical safeguards should be attached to the machine. Electric eyes should be tested to make sure they stop machine functions. Two-hand trip devices at the point of operation should be tested to make sure they work properly. Supplies should be in close proximity to the point of operation so you don’t have to do a lot of twisting or bending.

Think safe—work safe. It is a way to remember that you need to keep your head in the game. If you are thinking about safety, then you will work safely all day and will go home safe and sound.

See the original article Here.


News Brief: 500 Million User Accounts Hacked in Yahoo Breach

On Sept. 22, 2016, Yahoo Inc. confirmed that 500 million email accounts had been compromised in a 2014 hack—making it one of the largest cyber security breaches ever recorded. Personal information including names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords, and unencrypted security questions and answers were stolen in the breach. Initial reports show no evidence that payment card or bank data was lost.

Yahoo, who discovered the breach while conducting an internal investigation, says the attack was done by a “state-sponsored” hacker, meaning that the cyber thief was likely acting on behalf of a government. Yahoo is working closely with the authorities, and affected users are being notified.

If You’ve Been Hacked

Anyone affected by the hack or who has not reviewed his or her Yahoo account since 2014 should change his or her password and security questions immediately. To further secure all of your online accounts, it’s important to do the following:

  1. Change your passwords. Oftentimes a company won’t be able to tell you that your information has been compromised until it’s too late. To protect yourself and your personal information, it’s important to change your password often. That way, even if you are hacked, your old password will be of no use to a cyber criminal.
  2. Avoid using the same password more than once. Using the same password across multiple accounts is common, but this is a dangerous practice. This is because if a hacker is able to get his or her hands on just one of your passwords, he or she can use it on other accounts, increasing the potential for lost information.
  3. Create complex passwords. Complicated passwords are harder to guess. As such, avoid common phrases, names or clichés. If possible, use a mixture of numbers, letters and special characters.
  4. Update security questions. As was the case with the Yahoo breach, security questions can be stolen by cyber criminals. Because of this, it’s important to update security questions often to avoid getting hacked.

To read Yahoo’s official press release on the hack and to learn more about what to do if you’ve been affected, click here.

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15 Warning Signs of Worker's Compensation Fraud

The WC (workers' compensation) insurance system is a no-fault method of paying workers for medical expenses and wage losses due to on-the-job injuries. While the majority of WC claims are truthful, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that billions of dollars of false claims are submitted each year. To help you detect possible WC fraud, experience shows a claim may be fraudulent if two or more of the following factors are present:

  1. Monday Morning: The alleged injury occurs either “first thing Monday morning,” or late on a Friday afternoon but not reported until Monday.
  2. Employment Change: The reported accident occurs immediately before or after a strike, a layoff, the end of a big project or at the conclusion of seasonal work.
  3. Job Termination: If an employee files a post-termination claim:
    - Was the alleged injury reported by the employee prior to termination?
    - Did the employee exhaust his/her unemployment benefits prior to claiming workers’ compensation benefits?
  4. History of Changes: The claimant has a history of frequently changing physicians, addresses and places of employment.
  5. Medical History: The employee has a pre-existing medical condition that is similar to the alleged work injury.
  6. No Witnesses: The accident has no witnesses, and the employee's own description does not logically support the cause of injury.
  7. Conflicting Descriptions: The employee's description of the accident conflicts with the medical history or First Report of Injury.
  8. History of Claims: The claimant has a history of numerous suspicious or litigated claims.
  9. Treatment is Refused: The claimant refuses a diagnostic procedure to confirm the nature or extent of an injury.
  10. Late Reporting: The employee delays reporting the claim without a reasonable explanation.
  11. Hard to Reach: You have difficulty contacting a claimant at home, when he/she is allegedly disabled.
  12. Moonlighting: Does the employee have another paying job or do volunteer work?
  13. Unusual Coincidence: There is an unusual coincidence between the employee’s alleged date of injury and his/her need for personal time off.
  14. Financial Problems: The employee has tried to borrow money from co-workers or the company, or requested pay advances.
  15. Hobbies: The employee has a hobby that could cause an injury similar to the alleged work injury.

Remember, these warning signs are simply indicators. If you are suspicious of a claim, alert your insurance carrier immediately.